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Chopper

Electric cars, not as clean as you'd think

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An interesting article...

 

https://newmobility.news/2017/11/23/dark-side-electric-car-life-cycle/

 

It has oft been postulated that whole life comparisons of emissions, from refining the raw materials, manufacturing the components, assembling the vehicles, all the associated transport costs for components and finished vehicles, a lifetime kf use, and end of life redeyling, leave electric and hybrid cars lagging behind.  The old chestnut was a Prius being more polluting than a Hummer H2 from birth to death.

 

Well, it seems it might be true, at least partially.  Rare earth metals, Lithium etc, are required for the batteries and complex control electronics of these vehicles, and their mining and extraction are some of the most polluting processes on the planet.  As such, small internal combustion cars, such as our ICE engined Smarts, create less lifetime emissions than electric cars, who's manufacture positively ravages the planet.  This is true even in France, where about 3/4 of their electricity comes from non polluting(until it explodes!) nuclear power.

 

So for those of us interesting in minimising pollution - like me - then our Smarts are leaving us better placed, on average, than a pure electric vehicle would.  However, that only holds true for very small cars built with fewer raw materials and which burn less fuel - as car and engine size increases the economies of scale quickly put the electric car back in the lead.

 

The article is about in various forms from many news outlets on the interweb, a very interesting read.

 

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Hmmmmm.......Dare I agree with you.....in fear of serious wide flanking backlash...lol...but most who love the idea of an EV will never admit.....BUT, as you say it only works when speaking of the old larger engine, smog producing monsters we had or have here in North America....lol   But you must see this vast open area we call home here.....you can usually drive miles and miles without having to touch the steering wheel the distances are so far between. Unlike in Europe or Great Britain where you must constantly stay plugged in and awake....even your motorways have curves in them...lol.   So we need them honking V8 or larger pistons machines just so we can cruise alone effortlessly in couch comfort. Soon the front seats will have leg rests similar to lazy boy style chairs as technology creeps past us.  All of these creature comforts take away from the driving experience, not add to it.  Until you have driven a small light quick car on roads similar to England or similar you seriously do not know what driving is. But try and tell that to the couch crowd....where we need 700plus HP to get that jolt of forward motion while driving along a dragstrip straight and smooth road for miles on end.
Sorry, sort of got off topic a bit....this is why the EV won't become anything but a toy in North America except for city folks who only need to go 5 miles in total from point A to point B.....so their charge time/distance requirements are easily met.
For the rest of us, never going to happen until the cars can do a solid 500kms per charge.
But hey just my opinion and as we all know, we all have one, just like....

So from conception to death, which is cleaner...?  Hmmmm....?

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ICE vehicles have been polluting for over 100 years.  EVs will never come close to the damage already done.  Future carbon based battery tech will eliminate the use of rare earth metals, increase energy density and decrease charge times.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Of course, ,mainstream electric cars don't come equipped with time travel, so they'll never do that damage that ICE cars have been doing this last century plus.  However, unit for unit, going forward from now, as the article demonstrates, small ICE'd cars are less polluting from cradle to grave than electric ones.  The numbers are what they are.

 

As for less damaging battery tech becoming both practical and affordable, i pray that becomes the case.  However, I'm also wary that equally radical tech, such as cold fusion, has been "only" 5 years so away for the last 3 decades or so, so we shouldnt be pinning hopes on commodities that havent yet materialised.  Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.  Unless you own a 7 litre pick up, in which case it's a plot by the commie liberals to curb your constitutional freedom to blah blah blah.

 

 

Edited by Chopper
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"The Trancik lab emphasizes that this is very specific case, in a specific region where electricity is produced with coal."

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In BC where I live, more than 95% of power comes from hydro.  We presently export huge amounts (at a loss) to the USA.  So at least here, operating an EV is not adding much to the pollution burden and there is capacity to repatriate exported power when contracts expire. 

 

Even though dams flood thousands of hectares of carbon sink and the concrete they're made of is on the most wanted list for carbon dioxide....

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Posted (edited) · Report post

14 minutes ago, lebikerboy said:

"The Trancik lab emphasizes that this is very specific case, in a specific region where electricity is produced with coal."

It does, but the full study also points out that even in France, where nearly 75% of energy production comes from 'clean' nuclear, the maths still fall in favour of tiny ICE vehicles over electric for lifetime emissions.

 

I've got domestic 5kw solar, so personally I'd be better off in the emissions regard, but that still doesn't negate the vastly greater pollution created during the mining and refining of rare earth metals for leccy cars.

Edited by Chopper
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Hmmm.......how can you think that saying ICE vehicles have created so much then simply compare the EV to it as a whole....you can't think this way for anything ....can you..?  It's just not fair to think this way unless the EV start cleaning the air as well as doing what they do...damn!   I'll worry about emmissions when the countries who allow 10 million scooter, small displacement road bikes, mopeds and tuk tuks to pollute from sun up to sun down, and start getting rid of those..I won't even bring into it their heavy vehicles.......here in North America we have the air treatment facilities growing all over the place far out weighing what we produce, and we're taxed to death for enviromental issues etc and to use our vehicles, and our vehicles are so non-poluting now a days but we still are being hounded to reduce emmisions.....when will they ever give us a break? OR stop..?

You must compare one vehicle of same use and size with the comparable EV no other way.......then it's a fair comparisn.  Right from conception to grave as it was put.   

I own a large displacement V8 gas guzzling pig of a pick-up...it gets 15MPGs....it has zero emmisions on it what so ever...lol .I so rarely take it out to drive I'm selling it shortly.  It just makes zero sense for me to have it. I can drive my Smart all week for the same fuel costs it takes me to get to the town 20 minutes we used to live near! Sure i built it from the ground up, every nut, bolt, washer, rubber, frame the lot.....used to be a pride and joy thing...now it's just a gas guzzler!  I look at it as a dollar and cents thing now, maybe I'm getting too old to value it any more..?  

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